Foundation event represents U-turn for youth opportunities
Concerned with issues of youth opportunity and racial equity in Michigan, the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) hosted State of Opportunity? The Road Ahead for Michigan on March 27. The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) was in attendance, representing the Arab American community while the convening tackled structural racism in philanthropy and “cradle to career” grantmaking.
The Aspen Institute defines structural racism as “a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. It identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time.” The March 27 gathering focused on the “dimension” of philanthropy.
State of Opportunity speakers advocated for more holistic grantmaking practices, those that from “cradle to career” (birth through adulthood) support the growth of healthy, skilled, and civically engaged youth. This includes looking at problems that face our youth (such as infant mortality, unemployment, and welfare) through a lens of racial equity. In other words, grantmakers need to take into consideration the concerns that affect minority populations, as these populations generally have higher rates of social challenges.
However, the mission of the convening was not to focus on negative rhetoric, but to discuss grant-makers’ visions for a healthy future in the state of Michigan. Attendees agreed that foundations need to put emphasis on communicating stories about the “bright spots” - the organizations, families, and individuals we positively impact through funding and partnerships. In addition, four youth grant-makers from various foundations in Michigan were in attendance, sharing stories about the impact they have in their communities through grant-making. Their positivity was contagious and they truly have the potential to be the future leaders of philanthropy.
For more resources and information about the convening, please visit the State of Opportunity website.
- State of Opportunity: The Road Ahead for Michigan – A Call to Action, Examining Access and Equity for Michigan’s Young People, Cradle to Career (Council of Michigan Foundations)
- Connecting Michigan’s Community Foundations (Philanthropy in AAction)
- Raising Money From Arab Americans (Philanthropy in AAction)
Center for Arab American Philanthropy
2651 Saulino Ct.
Dearborn, MI 48120